- Budweiser is calling on other brands to become sponsors of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in its latest effort to support the league, per a company press announcement shared with Marketing Dive. The Anheuser-Busch brew became the official beer sponsor of the league in July.
- The "Future Official" campaign highlights the potential for other brands that want to sponsor the team. The ads feature Megan Rapinoe, the captain of Reign FC who helped lead the U.S. team to win the Women's World Cup last summer, in spots for the league's official sponsors of deodorant, restaurant, timepieces and more.
- The effort includes a special e-commerce site and print, online and video ads. Consumers can visit thefutureofficialsponsor.com and pledge to support future sponsors in a variety of categories. The short film "It's Worth Watching" aired on ESPN on Sunday to promote the effort and scored more than 1.4 million views on YouTube, as of press time.
Some 14.3 million U.S. viewers watched the final Women's World Cup match on television, a 22% boost over the 11.4 million U.S. viewers that watched the 2018 Men's World Cup Final, according to Fox Sports and Nielsen. However, the NWSL has not had as much attention — from audiences or brands — as the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT), which competed in the World Cup, or as other major sports leagues.
Budweiser's "Future Official" campaign looks to fill out a roster of sponsors for the NWSL. Since becoming the official beer sponsor for the league in July, the brand has launched the #WontStopWatching movement to help increase the number of dedicated audience members that turn up at games and watch these teams on TV and online. If other brands sign on as the official brand of the league in different categories, the league could see ad budgets increase as well.
By using its marketing muscle to support the professional league, Budweiser has the potential to create a strong brand association with female sports fans and broader women's rights movements. That is especially true with a campaign around women's soccer, which has been in headlines all year.
Earlier in 2019, 28 USWNT players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation over paying female players less than their male counterparts despite the fact that the women's team has higher revenues. A week later, Procter & Gamble ran a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for women's equal pay in support of USWNT, of which P&G's Secret deodorant brand is a sponsor. Secret also planned to buy 9,000 tickets to boost attendance at NWSL games.